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Cold Weather Payments

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will include RAF Benson as one of the meteorological stations used to determine cold weather payments in Oxfordshire; (247773)

(2) if he will estimate the number of people in Henley constituency who would have qualified for cold weather payments in the period from 1 November 2008 to 11 January 2009 had the determining temperature for the payment been taken solely at RAF Benson;

(3) how many people in Henley constituency qualified for cold weather payments between 1 November 2008 and 11 January 2009.

Estimates of the number of benefit units who qualified for cold weather payments between 1 November 2008 and 11 January 2009 are not available by parliamentary constituency or local authority, but only by weather station.

A cold weather payment is triggered for an eligible customer if the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0°C or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to the customer's postcode.

Postcodes in Henley parliamentary constituency are linked to either Brize Norton, High Wycombe or South Farnborough weather stations. Each of these weather stations triggered twice between 1 November 2008 and 11 January 2009. Therefore eligible benefit units in Henley parliamentary constituency each qualified for two cold weather payments between 1 November 2008 and 11 January 2009. If Henley parliamentary constituency had been linked to RAF Benson, eligible benefit units would still have qualified for two cold weather payments between 1 November 2008 and 11 January 2009.

The inclusion of RAF Benson as one of the meteorological stations used to determine cold weather payments in Oxfordshire will be considered as part of the annual cold weather payment review in summer 2009.